West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic has told The Guardian that he thinks playmaker Dimitri Payet is on par with Arsenal's Mesut Ozil.
Payet, 28, joined West Ham from Marseille over the summer, and having racked up seven goals and 16 assists last season, he arrived with a huge reputation.
The Frenchman has certainly lived up to that billing so far, having scored five goals and added three assists, becoming West Ham's chief creator in the final third after a string of outstanding displays.
Yet, having been injured in the game against Everton in November, Payet has been missing for almost two months now, but is in line for a surprise return against Liverpool this weekend.
Payet was initially expected to be out until around February or March, but it somehow on the verge of a return, which will be a huge boost to a West Ham side who have scored just five goals in the seven games Payet has missed.
Ahead of Payet's potential comeback against Liverpool, manager Bilic has been raving about his playmaking superstar, telling The Guardian that he is on par with Arsenal's Mesut Ozil.
"I rate him on the same level as Mesut Özil," said Bilic. "He makes other players better. He creates space for others, he creates chances, he can take three or four players out of the game. He adapted immediately to the club and the players recognised his ability straight away," he added.
Ozil has remarkably notched 16 Premier League assists already this season, and has proven that he is one of the best players in the Premier League - so Bilic's claim is a bold one. However, based on Payet's displays this season, the Frenchman is certainly up there as one of the best playmakers in the top flight, right alongside Ozil.
As a World Cup winner and Champions League star, Ozil may be a notch ahead of Payet, but in terms of importance to their team, it's clear that Payet is just as vital to West Ham as Ozil is to Arsenal, given the outstanding quality of both players.
Do you think Payet is as good as Ozil?